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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Virgie's Bar-B-Que

4 Stars

On business in Houston back in December, I wanted to knock out some coastal BBQ joints. This was my first BBQ joint of the day with Pizzitola's being visited right after. The neighborhood I found Virgie's in seemed sketchy...a good sign. I hit the small lot right before lunch with a generous smell of smoke infiltrating my nostrils. As mentioned, I have been visiting legendary Texas BBQ joints since 2006 but have never considered myself a blogger or meat reviewer. Being an amateur and only starting to really care to learn great BBQ, I didn't ask what type of wood for smoking, the brand of smoker used, a view of the pit, questions about the sausage, rub and seasonings, etc. I was simply letting my taste buds guide me.

The service was extraordinarily friendly as I believe they are truly appreciative of the business. A nice change and definitely personable approach from the employees. I ordered the meat sampler plate as shown above. This was the lean brisket with a nice 1/4 smoke ring and crust surrounding the beef. The smoke flavor was pleasurable and the brisket actually reminded me of what I found at Pecan Lodge the day I visited. It was how brisket should taste with not one hint of roast flavor. The sausage was exceptionally well flavored with red and black pepper presenting a minimal spicy kick. I couldn't test the snap but the casing wasn't spongy at all. The ribs were last and looked as if God had personally plucked them from Adam's side himself. Beautiful outside crust, thick meat and a pink hue from the smoke. Open mouth, insert rib, and oops...tough and chewy. Damn. So close to perfection. The taste was great but these were not moist at all. I wouldn't deem them dry but they were rather difficult to eat off the bone. I believe this to be a flaw and would like a return visit.

All in all this was solid BBQ. I was on the verge of 3 stars but I truly believe the ribs may have woke up on the wrong side of the smoker. After further research the wood is oak and the pitmaster knows just how to use it. It's a shame that older BBQ joints around the state still can't figure out the science of proper wood usage to attain a healthy smoke flavor.

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